• Why Birds as Pets!!!! June 27, 2011
    Birds as pets are far different from pets as dogs and cats. Still keeping birds can be very rewarding and entertaining. Instead of keeping them in small cages they should be kept in large ones to provide space for them to fly. Rather than keeping four legged pets, birds are far more beneficial. Birds are […]
  • Portable Poultry Coop – Why Having A Cartable Chickens House Is A Good Move June 18, 2011
    If you’re planning to build a backyard coop, you may want to think about building a mobile chicken coop instead.  It has got a lot of advantages; some of which are enumerated below.   Why a mobile coop?   Mobile chicken houses are simple build, easy to wash and lessens possible issues due to constantly […]
  • Buy the Best Livestock Supplies in 3 Steps June 17, 2011
    Almost everyone has goals, goals as well as objectives about things they would like to accomplish.  Most people have a list of points we want to accomplish or have.  A lot of individuals want to purchase livestock supplies.  Perhaps you would too. Once you know how, that’s truly much less difficult.  When you first pass […]
Do Follow

Posts Tagged ‘zebra finches’

Society Finches

The word “society” is perfectly suited for these little birds due to their extremely social nature.  They are so social, that they should always be kept in groups.  In fact, they are such busybodies that they can often get in the way and disrupt the breeding habits of other more private birds.  But their energetic nature is never aggressive and they make wonderful pets for novice as well as advanced bird lovers. 

Society Finches are believed to have been developed in Asia over three hundred years ago by Chinese and Japanese breeders.  It is assumed that they are a domestic form of the White-backed Munia (Lonchura striata), but their absolute ancestry is uncertain.  These friendly birds grow to be about four and one-fourth inches to four and three-fourths inches (11-12 cm).  Society Finches have three basic color varieties: chocolate and white, fawn and white, and pure white.  There are also tri-coloreds, crested forms (developed in the 1930′s), and solid-colored Society Finches.  But what makes them really great is that no two Society Finches are alike.

Society Finches make great pets for beginners.  In addition to their ideal temperament, they are inexpensive and one of the easiest birds to care for.  Fresh food and water must be provided for these hardy birds daily.  A good finch seed mix will provide their everyday preference for millets and canary seed. Finch seed mix is readily available at any pet store.  Owners should also supply their Social Finches with green foods, such as chickweed and spinach, in a separate cup on a regular basis.  Other food supplements can include egg foods, apples or pears. You can even spoil your finches with special nutritious treats of seeds with honey, fruits or vegetables.  Grit with charcoal is also essential to your Social Finch’s diet to aid in digestion, plus it contains valuable minerals and trace elements.  Grit should be provided in a special cup or it can be sprinkled over the bottom of the cage floor.  Owners should also provide their birds with a cuttlebone because the calcium that it provides will give your bird a firm beak, strong eggshells when breeding, and it will also prevent egg binding in females.  The lime in the cuttlebone also aids the birds in their digestion.  Since Society Finches are very hardy birds, almost all illnesses can be traced to an improper diet, dirty cages, or drafts.  Society Finches with a balanced diet and plenty of exercise are able to avoid most illnesses.

Occasionally you can offer your Society Finches a bath by setting a dish in the bottom of the cage that is about 1″ deep with a 1/2″ of water inside, or you can clip a bath house onto the side of the cage.  Another aspect of Society Finch care involves trimming their nails.  Owners must be careful to never clip into the vein because the bird can quickly bleed to death.  Bird nail trimmers and styptic powder to stop the bleeding are available at any pet shop.

Finches Information

It is no wonder why these active little birds are so popular as pets.  Finches are easy to care for and make wonderful pets for anyone including those who live in an apartment, have children, and even those individuals that have other pets. 

Finches come in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and personalities.  Popular varieties include the Zebra Finches, the Gouldian Finch, and the Society Finch.  Most finches are very social and can easily be housed in spacious cages with other finches and other hardbills. But larger species may be aggressive to smaller species.  It is not recommended to house finches with parakeets, lovebirds, or other hookbills because these types of birds tend to be naturally more aggressive.  Be careful not to overcrowd these birds because it can lead to feather picking.  Although finches are quite friendly, mixed groups of birds should still be watched for bullying and fighting.  Their socialization and the fact that finches prefer to play among themselves is a positive in regards to the fact that they will not pout like a parrot would if you are unable to play with it everyday.  However, being more interested in birds then people, finches may not always become finger tame birds.  Although most finches will not be able to be handled, there are a few finch species that with time and patience can be finger tamed.  If you do need to handle your finch for something like trimming its nails, place your palm on its back and wrap your fingers around the bird with your thumb and forefinger on either side of its head.  Finches hardly ever bite, and if they do, they do not have a harmful or dangerous bite.

Most finches are extremely easy to care for but they are active and must be able to move around easily within their cages.  It is important that they be able to fly from perch to perch so keep their cage accessories to a minimum to give them room to move about freely.  All they need is a single toy, mirror, or branch that can be changed around within the cage periodically to provide the bird with variety.  Toys that are safe for parakeets are also safe for finches.  You can also give your finch a treat by offering it a bird bath within its cage a couple of times a week.  Finches in the wild love to roll in dew dampened grasses for a bath so you can also provide your finches with a small amount of damp dandelion leaves or grasses in the bottom of the cage for a few hours as well.

These entertaining and hardy birds also tend to be more quiet then some other bird species.  Plus, they are also less costly to purchase than many parrots and softbilled birds, adding to their appeal as pets.  Finches will provide a lot of entertainment with their cheerful little voices and their unique personalities.  People enjoy them for their busy antics, plumage, and for their song. 


Zebra Finches

In the wild Zebra Finches are hardy little grass finches that occupy grass or brush lands, dry savannas, open areas, pastures and cultivated fields.  In our homes, they steal the hearts of their owners with their cheerful nature and active lifestyle.  But that is not the only reason that Zebra Finches have been one of the most popular cage birds for over one-hundred years.  These attractive little creatures are also hardy, inexpensive, active, and one of the easiest birds to keep and breed.

Zebra Finches are great birds for a beginner or for any bird enthusiast!  They maintain their happy disposition throughout their seven to ten year lifespan with continuous work and song.  They are also one of the most popular varieties seen in pet stores.  Zebra Finches need the company of other finches, so plan on getting a pair, and you will need a decent sized cage so they can fly.

Zebra Finches are available in many different patterns and colors.  Typically, the male Zebra Finch has a gray upper body and wings and a white belly.  Their beak and legs are a red-orange color and there is a cheek patch on each side of its head.  They also have a teardrop mark under the eye that can be brown, tan or fawn, but is commonly called “orange” by Zebra Finch enthusiasts.  The flanks or sides located just below the wings of male Zebra Finches are chestnut-colored (orange) with white dots.  And finally, the male’s chest is black and white striped like a zebra, hence the name Zebra Finch.  The female Zebra Finches also have a gray upper body and wings with a white belly, but their beaks and legs are lighter in color then the males’.  Females also have a black teardrop mark under the eye.  Some different Zebra Finch varieties include the Fawn, Chestnut Flanked White, Lightback, Pied, Black or Orange Breasted and the Black Cheek.

Zebra Finches originate from Australia where they live in dry areas and eat mostly grass seeds.  Seeds are also the basic food for them in captivity.  However, offering your finches fresh foods from your kitchen is also an option.  Different individual birds will have different likes and dislikes.  You can experiment with a variety of food items to see what your particular birds will like to eat.  Try offerings them things like mixed vegetables, sprouts (alfalfa, etc.), hard boiled eggs (mashed), lettuce, spinach, bread crumbs, and corn bread.  Most natural foods can be fed to your birds.  Just stay away from extremes like peppers, cabbage, etc.  Make sure to feed your Zebra Finches only the amount of fresh food that they will consume on a daily basis.  Remove any food that they do not eat before it spoils.  Although Zebra Finches are very hardy and can go for a long period of time without water since they are desert birds (not recommended), eating daily is vital for their survival – so make sure that you always keep their seed bowl filled. 



Finch Cages

Pet finches make lively, interesting, and cheerful companions.  They are a pleasure to care for, and they make really great pets.  In today’s busy world, a finch bird is an ideal pet for someone who likes birds but doesn’t have time for the social interaction that a bird like a parrot demands.  But in order for them to be happy in our home, we as pet finch owners need to supply the right home for them.

These small, beautiful and active birds need a cage that is at least two and a half feet in length. Finches are small birds, so the bars of the cage need to be close enough together to prevent injury to the birds or their escape.  Finches are extremely active and get their exercise by flying so it is recommended that the cage provide enough room for that.  There needs to be room enough for short flights. Many finch owners actually have two cages.  One is used to place the birds in while they are cleaning the other cage. 

Several things need to be provided within the cage for the birds.  Separate finch feeders for food and water should be in the cage at all times.  There should also be extra dishes that can be placed in the cage for short periods of time for things like treats and grit.  You will also need to offer the finches a small dish to bathe in several times a week.  Finches will also appreciate a nest box to sleep in.  Pet finches also need perches to rest on.  Perches for the cage should be of various sizes in order to provide exercise for the birds’ feet.  Cement perches are good for keeping the toe nails trimmed, but they should not be used exclusively as they can be hard on their feet.  Some finch enthusiasts recommend using natural perches made from the branches of trees like elm, maple, pear, poplar, or cherry.  In the bottom of the cage should be paper sprinkled with grit, or you can use a grit paper.  As an option you can also attach a “bird protector” disk to the side of the cage in order to prevent mites.  But this kind of accessory is completely optional. 

Another thing that finches will need are toys within the cage.  Zebra finches often like plastic rings and bells or other shiny objects for entertainment.  There are many other toys for birds available in pet stores and retail outlets like swings, ladders, beads and mirrors.  You can provide your birds with a couple of toys at a time and then change them often to keep things interesting.

The cage should be cleaned at least once a week.  Cleaning a cage is a fairy simple process that entails using hot, soapy water to thoroughly clean the cage and accessories.  They then need to be rinsed and dried.  For an easier time cleaning the cage, you can line the bottom of the cage with paper towels, newspaper or brown paper bags cut to size.

Gouldian Finches

Gouldian Finches are native to the northern region of the Australian tropics although, since the 1960’s, Australia has banned the exportation of animals from the country.  Although today the Gouldian Finch is endangered in its natural habitat, there are plenty still available as pets.

These splendidly colored finches can have gray, red, or orange heads, blue or green backs, and are purple, white, or yellow underneath.  Their colors are so brilliant that they almost appear to be unnatural.  There are three varieties of Gouldian Finches that are naturally-occurring in color.  They are the black-headed (Poephila gouldiae), the red-headed (Poephila mirabilis) and the yellow-headed (Poephila armitiana).  Although these are the color varieties that are generally recognized, there can be any number of color combinations derived from these basic colorations including blue and yellow-bodied mutations.  The coloration of the male Gouldian Finch is much more brilliant than that of the female.  The male also has a noticeably longer center tail feather.
Arguably, Gouldian Finches are one of the most colorful birds in the world.   

Gouldian Finches are much more difficult to care for and breed than the heartier finch breeds like the Zebra finches and the Society Finches.  Gouldian Finches are not recommended for the novice bird owner who may have little or no experience with captive finches.  Gouldian Finches, like many other types of finches, do not like to be petted or held.  Those who would like a pet bird that can easily be finger tamed should probably stay away from the Gouldian Finch.  All finches are social and should be kept in one or more pairs in order to satisfy their need to be social.  Also, Gouldian Finches are easily disrupted by frequent changes in their housing environment or by movement of their cage.  When these birds undergo frequent stress, it can eventually lead to weakening in the birds’ resistance to disease.

Finches are very active birds and this does not exclude the Gouldian Finch.  Whether they are in a cage or an aviary, they need the largest flying space out of any other finch species.  Although they are only between five and five and a half inches in size, they need a minimum flying space of about twenty inches.  Cages for housing Gouldian Finches can either be metal or wooden.  Just make sure that the space between cage bars is never greater than one-half inch to prevent injury and escape.  Brass cages are not recommended for Gouldian Finches because of the potential toxic qualities.  But most cages that are brass in color are not actually made of brass. 

In addition to their quirky personalities and their bouncy energy, Gouldian Finch lovers also love to hear the background sounds these small birds make.  They have a beautiful soft chirp but, not all Gouldian Finches sing.  It is only the males that sing, and some better than others.  Although the care of the Gouldian Finch is a little bit more involved then some of the other finch species, their vibrant colors and their pleasant personalities make the care and involvement in the Gouldian Finches’ life wonderful.


Breeding Zebra Finches

Finches make great pets due to their hardiness and their quirky little personalities.  They are easy to care for and that does not change when it comes to breeding.  Along with the Society Finch, the Zebra Finch is one of the easiest types of finches to breed.  These two finches, the Zebra in particularly, will even help to rear the young of other finches like rare types of Australian Grass Finches.  

Sexes in many species of finch differ in appearance while other species look alike and can only be sexed by the behavior or song of the male.  There are several ways to tell the difference between male and female Zebra Finches.  Although there are a number of mutations that can alter the colors and characteristics of the Zebra Finch, several things remain the same.  Males have a number of distinguishing features including: orange cheek patches, stripes on the throat, black bar on the breast and a chestnut colored flank with white spots.  Female Zebra Finch lack these features and are gray in those areas mentioned.  Beak color is generally a brighter red in males and an orange color in females.  Juveniles look like females, but with a black beak.  The beak and adult colors are usually complete by the time the young are 90 days old.

Breeding season begins with the arrival of spring.  Each finch species has a specific environment that will be suitable for successful breeding.  Some finch species will do very well as a single pair in a breeding box, while others types of finches need a large aviary with many other birds around.  A compatible pair of Zebra Finches will nest in almost any environment.  Zebras Finches are good parents and rarely have breeding related problems.  The male and female Zebra Finch both share responsibility in raising the young.  It is the male who will weave the nest.  You can supply him with nesting materials like grasses, feathers, or commercially prepared finch nesting material in the cage or aviary.  But, as soon as the hen lays her eggs, you should remove any excess nesting material from the cage to prevent the male from covering up the eggs in his enthusiasm to make improvements. 

Zebra Finches will lay one egg every other day until their clutch is complete, with the average clutch size being four to five eggs.  Some species of finches will lay only two eggs while another species can lay up to ten eggs.  After the eggs are laid it is the hen who will spend most of her time on the nest but the male will often accompany her and relieve her for food and exercise breaks.  Twelve to eighteen days after the eggs are laid, they will begin to hatch. 

Parents will need an unlimited access to calcium which may be supplied by cuttlebone and high protein foods when chicks are in the nest.  The chicks will feather out and start to leave the nest at about 18 days old and by the time the chicks are about a month old they will be eating completely on their own and can be separated from their parents.  If the parent birds go back to nest before the chicks are totally weaned, you might need to place the male and the chicks in a separate cage.  The male Zebra Finch will finish feeding the babies and can rejoin his mate after the chicks are completely weaned.

February 2018
« Jun